Meat tax would raise prices but save thousands say researchers

08 November, 2018, 21:35 | Author: Sherman Richardson
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The new research looked at the level of tax needed to reflect the healthcare costs incurred when people eat red meat. To fully cover the costs, the health taxes would have to be doubled, the study says. This includes hot dogs (frankfurters), ham, sausages, corned beef, and beef jerky - as well as canned meat and meat-based preparations and sauces.

There is also a growing awareness of the environmental impact of eating red meat because of the high levels of land and water use and carbon emissions associated with its production.

'However, our findings make it clear that the consumption of red and processed meat has a cost, not just to people's health and to the planet, but also to the healthcare systems and the economy'.

Catherine Happer, at the University of Glasgow and not part of the research team, said: "My view is increasingly that a tax on red and processed meat is inevitable as the science on the harms has consolidated". It found that a 20% tax on unprocessed red meat and a 110% tax on the more harmful processed products across rich nations, with lower taxes in less wealthy nations, would cut annual deaths by 220,000 and raise $170bn (£130bn).

Given the negative health impacts, there have been calls for certain types of meat to be regulated similar to other carcinogens - such as tobacco or asbestos - or like other foods of public health concern - such as sugary drinks.

The researchers said: "Including the social health costs of red and processed meat consumption in the price of red and processed meat could lead to significant health and environmental benefits, in particular in high- and middle-income countries".

"Red meat provides valuable nutrients, such as iron, zinc, vitamin D and B vitamins".

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"The tax is higher in the U.S. due to an inefficient health system that wastes a lot of money", said Springmann.

Governments around the world have already shown a willingness to tax products that have been linked with health problems, including cigarettes, alcohol and sugar.

And for a pack of eight pork sausages from Sainsburys the price would increase from £1.50 to £2.69. Fresh burgers and mince are not considered to be processed meats.

"Chronic disease prevention would be far more effective if it focused on smoking, excess drinking, and body weight rather than a single food source like meat, which brings many nutritional benefits". Due to its relatively modest healthcare spending the United Kingdom is somewhere in the middle with an 80% increase.

The globalist World Health Organization (WHO), which is the UN's healthcare bureaucracy, has previously categorized processed meat containing beef, pork, and lamb as carcinogenic and lists unprocessed forms of those meats as "probably [carcinogenic]".

Taxing meat in Germany at an effective level led to red meat being 28% more expensive and the price of processed meat rising by 166%. And it would also reduce levels of obesity by driving consumers to lower-calorie substitutions. With reduced consumption of red meat, the study, published on November 6, claims there would be 220,000 fewer deaths from chronic disease per year around the world. "A health levy on red and processed meat would not limit choices, but send a powerful signal to consumers and take pressure off our healthcare systems", he added.

They estimated taxes would need to be highest in high-income countries like the United States and the UK, while they could be much lower in less wealthy countries.

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